This is #10 in a series of 10 lessons on Creating Empathy Through Play.
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Kind, Inclusive, Smart, and Strong, (KISS). Those are the kind of humans this world needs more of. And those are the kind that good parents and teachers like you are trying to raise. There’s a lot of crap that gets in the way, unfortunately, and although parenting isn’t easy, my goal is to help make it fun and rewarding for you.
No one wants to raise a narcissist, but it doesn’t help to be too giving either. Especially if you’re unable or unwilling to work at setting appropriate boundaries.
Have you ever heard of the story The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? It was really popular in the ’70s but it always made me wonder about the true meaning of the story. It seems, at least on the surface, to encourage giving until one’s all used up and then dying, never having been appreciated. Could this be what the author really wanted to portray? He never did divulge the answer to this question to the media as far as I know.
It sucks to be a martyr but It also doesn’t help to be too strict or demanding either. There are a lot of ways to teach a child. Trying to scare bad behavior out of them is not a good one. So how do we manage to balance kindness with strength? How do we help our kids learn to advocate for others while advocating for themselves and staying safe?
I’m going to propose a way to do this that won’t burn parents out or allow them to neglect their duties. I call it Less Is More Parenting and I’ve spent the last 43 years developing and refining this philosophy. The key is to do more of the right things for your kids and less of the things that don’t help.
Less Is More Parenting is a win-win ideology because it focuses on what works to create Kind, Inclusive, Smart, and Strong children. The kind that make a positive difference while remembering to care for themselves. Here's a synopsis of the philosophy.
My final point is that children need to feel seen, heard, and understood before they can embrace fairness and change the world. They need to be held accountable for their actions and we, as the adults in their lives, need to be held accountable for teaching them to self-regulate.
Waiting, taking turns, communicating, and working through frustration are all valid skills that help with self-regulation. Please refer to the previous 9 lessons for ideas on developing all of those skills and more!
Here's a great board book by Sophie Beers that I recently found that covers the main ideas in this lesson. Now you can do 1 of 3 things:
Read a couple more of my short, sweet blogs and get the opportunity to pick up a free copy of my slide show, "Get Your Kids To Listen Without Yelling or Time-Outs!"
Click close and say goodbye! If you want to see the empathy lessons and/or be first to know about the Less Is More Parenting course, click here now, because you'll never remember to come back later to do it. And, did I mention, it's free. Thanks for reading!
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.